Ferndale School Board Candidate Profile: Raylon Leaks-May
Leaks-May is one of eight seeking election to the school board in November.
Eight people are vying for four seats on Ferndale's school board in the November election and Ferndale Patch is bringing you Q&A profiles with each of the candidates.
We asked the candidates about why they want to be on the board of education, their backgrounds, what they consider the biggest areas for improvement and more.
Below are the replies of Raylon Leaks-May.
Q: Number of years a resident of the Ferndale school district?
Q: Do you or did you have children in Ferndale schools?
I have three children in Ferndale schools, all attend John F. Kennedy. I have an adult daughter who attended Ferndale schools from Preschool-High School and graduated from Ferndale High School as well as one son who is out of district due to learning challenges.
Q: What prompted you to run for a seat on Ferndale's school board?
My interest in running for the school board actually surfaced in 2010, when I applied for the vacancy on the school board at that time. Since then, I have increased my knowledge regarding the workings of the district and have taken on various leadership roles within and outside of the district. I am a parent who is persistent and not afraid to advocate for this district and this community.
Q: What kinds of experiences – professional, educational or otherwise – make you a unique and qualified candidate?
I am a mother of five beautiful children and have volunteered in the district and in community efforts for over 20 years. I, currently serve on the district's finance committee, am a Trustee of the Ferndale Education Foundation, and played an instrumental role in the success of the recent school bond election.
I am a licensed insurance agent with Farmers Insurance Group and a graduate of Oakland Community College and Madonna University.
As a long time Ferndale resident, business woman and mother of five, I will bring experience and stability to the Ferndale School Board. If elected, I pledge to work with fellow trustees to create an open environment where discussion will be encouraged and in abundance.
Q: What new ideas do you hope to bring to the table?
I hope to bring a sense of trust and an open culture to the board. I envision working collaboratively with the board, administration, teachers, staff members in the area of community engagement and building bridges of communication with all four municipalities that make up the entire Ferndale School District and community as a whole.
Q: What do you think are the biggest issues facing the school district? How would you handle them?
One of the biggest issues facing the school district is resident retention. Without a stable retention rate, the school district loses necessary funding, academic quality declines, community weakens and property values wane! It is safe to say that strong schools build strong communities! Ways in which I would like to measure retention rates would include: community input, via forums, pre and post year surveys, home visits, as well as developing a strong relationship with the Ferndale Ambassadors.
Q: What do you regard as the district's successes? How would you continue or improve upon these areas, if elected?
Some of the district successes include our district-wide talented teaching and support staff , our phenomenal music and fine arts program, CASA, A/P courses, our wonderful parent volunteers and our no-pay to play! These programs are gems of this district and I will advocate for their longevity!
Q: Around the country, state and in Ferndale, school budgets continue to be an issue districts grapple with. What areas of the budget would be your biggest priority, if elected? Where do you see the most room for cuts, if needed?
Yes, budget cuts continue to be an unfortunate issue at a variety of levels; however, it would be presumptuous for me to comment on where cuts would be without being able to sit down with my constituents and reviewing our budget from top to bottom!
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
I am so proud to be on the BOLD slate with Amy Butters, Jim O’Donnell, Kevin Deegan-Krause and know that we will work non-stop to move the Ferndale School District forward, making it one of the best districts in Oakland County!